Recruiting twist: LSU may win in luring Madison Prep's Brandon Sampson _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Madison Prep's Brandon Sampson scores against Southern Lab at Madison Prep High School Friday, March 6, 2015.

Madison Prep basketball star Brandon Sampson has no problems driving or spinning past opponents on the court. So it should come as no surprise that Sampson could pull off the recruiting version of 180 degree spin move.

The 6-foot-5 Sampson, Louisiana’s reigning Mr. Basketball and Class 1A Outstanding Player, is now set to sign at 10 a.m. Monday at the school.

My first reaction was “Wow” when I got the news of the signing ceremony from Madison Prep coach Jeff Jones.

Jones offered few clues but said that the decision could be a surprise. A surprise? But for who?

LSU was an original finalist for Sampson. Is Sampson’s decision to sign be a thumbs up for the Tigers? I say it is, even though LSU would seem to be an unconventional landing place.

Throughout his recruitment Sampson stressed his desire to play significant minutes as a freshman next season. There are no guarantees that Louisiana’s reigning Mr. Basketball will be able to do that in a crowded LSU backcourt.

Of course, the chance to be part of the Tigers top recruiting class in more than a decade has to be appealing. Not to mention the chance to play close to home in front of friends and family. After all, it worked for his former Madison Prep teammate Jarell Martin for two seasons.

Sampson committed to St. John’s earlier this year but reopened his recruitment late last month when the Red Storm fired Steve Lavin. New St. John’s coach Chris Mullin visited with Sampson over the weekend. Legendary coach Larry Brown visited too, but a visit to Brown’s SMU program didn’t pan out.

Others with local ties, including new Alabama coach Avery Johnson, the former Southern star and NBA player/coach, and former LSU assistant Butch Pierre of Oklahoma State, have been in the picture too.

Maybe the picture looks most in focus closer to home? Could be.